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By PJM
#1253480
Hi, I have just recently bought a Dirty Pro Tools 100A Gasless Mig Welder, I normally work with wood at my Mens Shed, but it has always irritated me that I was not able to Weld anything when working in metal.

I have just used it for the first time, and am very pleased with the Leopard LEO-WH86 Solar Powered Auto Darkening mask. My welding for my first attempt using I think the 2nd of 4 possible settings and a slow mig wire feed setting . I did not get a very clean weld and it did look a bit like bird droppings, but it had welded and looked better after cleaning up with a grinderette and dremel sanding discs.

Any tips for selecting correct settings for my next practice attempt, after cleaning a space so sparks do not set my workshop on fire and clearing a bench and getting good light I hope to get better. An investment in a Welding switchable magnet also was invaluable for holding my piece together.

Advice Please
By Fergal
#1253511
I'm not hugely experienced with MIG (TIG is more my thing) but I did recently acquire an old Clarke 100E gas MIG machine. If you're getting pigeon-poo looking welds, your wire feed rate is probably too slow or the voltage is too low.

Look in the machine's manual for which power setting you should use for the thickness of metal you're welding then try running a bead with one hand while changing the wire feed speed. When everything is right you should hear a nice, constant bacon sizzling type sound.

The metal should be clean and shiny and try to keep the torch at a constant distance from the weld as you do it.

There's a very good forum for novice welders here:

https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/
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By Lazurus
#1253520
What is the difference between MIG and TIG. I am considering a welder myself but have only used stick welders in the past? Which for DIY usage would you recommend?
By Fergal
#1253527
Here's an article describing the various welding processes.

https://weldinghelmetpros.com/different ... -processes

Each process has pros and cons regarding cost, learning curve, suitable applications etc.

I personally went for TIG as it is clean, quiet and produces no sparks as I didn't want to burn my garage down! I mainly use it for metal art, making jigs etc and general fabrication. It is ideal for indoors bench-based work where you can be comfortable. Not so good for outdoors work or working underneath cars etc where MIG is more suitable. It is also more expensive and harder to learn than MIG.

My TIG machine also does stick (SMAW) so I can use it outdoors for rough jobs that just require sticking bits of metal together. I recently bought a used MIG machine for a specific job as it's more portable than my TIG setup and was more appropriate for the task.

The kind of welder you need really depends on what kind of jobs you intend to do with it.
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By Lazurus
#1255142
ok decided on a MIG with gas, as it is for occasional DIY use are the disposable bottles any good, what sort of weld time will they give. I am trying to avoid bottle rental as for limited usage.
By Fergal
#1255346
I use the disposable 110l Argon/CO2 bottles from Machine Mart on my MIG. They don't last very long at all, maybe 10 minutes of welding time. But, as I don't use my MIG very much, I didn't want to splash out on large gas bottles.

For my TIG machine I use a large Argon bottle from BOC which requires a rental fee and you pay for refills. I use the TIG a lot more, so it's worth it as the gas cost is considerably cheaper. There are other places like Hobbyweld and SGS where you can get rent-free gas, but the initial outlay was a bit too much for me.
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By Lazurus
#1255365
Great advice thanks, as a New Year treat I have booked a welding course on MIG, should answer all my questions - apart from I will need a good mask - auto darkening sounds ideal, any recommendations.
By Fergal
#1255371
Definitely get an auto-darkening mask, it makes welding so much easier. There are loads on ebay for about £20. I've been using one for about 6 years and it's served me well, although I've put in a request to Santa for one of these:

https://www.weldequip.com/ifl-xls-autoshield.htm

Hopefully it will be a step up from the old one.
By novocaine
#1255377
Wait till you've done the course before you touch it. :)
Wear long sleeves (sun burn isn't fun), get a decent welding apron and a proper set of gauntlets.
Buy a sheet of steel and cut it in to coupons for after you've done the course. spend about 10 hours of your life welding them together. you should now be able to lay a bead that doesn't look like a bird flew past. now spend about 100-1000 hours learning how to weld. :)
Ignore the advice you get online, do the course. :)
By Fergal
#1255384
I have to disagree with novocaine about online advice. I've had much more useful advice from the welding forum at https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum and Youtube than the welding course I did.

I did a 10 week evening course at a local college where we could learn whichever process we wanted (TIG, MIG, arc, or gas) and concentrate on that. I chose TIG, but the majority wanted MIG. The instructor seemed more interested in helping the MIG guys than anybody else, so I didn't really learn that much from him. Maybe I was unlucky in getting an instructor that wasn't interested in TIG welding? I wasn't a complete write-off though as he did let me help myself to the contents of the scrap bin so I had plenty of steel to practice on at home.
By gog64
#1257519
FWIW you can get bottles with no rental. I use a small 10l with argon 5 and it lasts pretty well for the light use I give it. From memory the bottle costs about £60 & the gas is about £50 a fill. A decent flow meter will soon pay for itself.
By thenormynuts
#1272266
If your weld looked like bird droppings you're probably doing it too slow (and have the amperage too high).

Keep practicing, change the variables and you'll soon get the hang of the settings. Like Fergal said - it should sound like you're frying bacon. Usually welders come with a chart on the inside door on the machine which shows you the settings to use.

You can also find some useful information on MIG welder settings here http://www.kingsofwelding.com/buyers-guides/best-mig-welder-reviews/

Re TIG and MIG. These will both produce better welds than stick without having to chip away loads of slag. TIG is the more intricate method that's harder to learn but has high accuracy. MIG is great through and a faster process, so I'd be happy to use this unless you're welding something where the detail and finish it very important.

If you're MIG welding the disposable bottles are good, but if you're only welding occasionally then you'll be better off using a small gas bottle with a refundable deposit (rent free) rather than the rented bottles. Argon/CO2 mix gives the best results here. If you don't want to use gas then you'll be able to use flux cored wire with your MIG welder and do it without gas.

There are loads of great forums/videos and blog posts online and it's easier then ever to learn how to weld :)
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By Eric The Viking
#1272321
novocaine wrote:Wait till you've done the course before you touch it. :)
Wear long sleeves (sun burn isn't fun), get a decent welding apron and a proper set of gauntlets.
Buy a sheet of steel and cut it in to coupons for after you've done the course. spend about 10 hours of your life welding them together. you should now be able to lay a bead that doesn't look like a bird flew past. now spend about 100-1000 hours learning how to weld. :)
Ignore the advice you get online, do the course. :)


I'd thank for this twice if I could.

I learned from a friend who welded in the aerospace industry.

After many years of occasional attempts I'm still rubbish, but he showed me how to use my own welder, and turned up with a bag full of steel plate pieces, which he got me first to lay beads on and then to weld together. I learned a lot.

Several things: the welding gas makes a huge difference. I got the best results with Argon/CO2 mix, and it was by far the easiest to use. If you can afford it, get a gas valve that has meters on it (pressure and flow): when it goes right, you'll know what the settings were! I still don't have one but wish I did. Auto-darkening helmets rock! I get overalls from our local army surplus store, as you blow holes in clothes, and yes, you want to cover up every bit of skin you can if you're fair-skinned, like me.

Even people who tan well can get nasty sunburn if careless. There's a temptation in confined spaces (doing cars) to dispense with the mask and either just close your eyes or hold the glass on its own. Reg, who taught me, helped me to mend a car suspension that way. The following sunday at church he turned up looking _very_ sunburned - he was very experienced and had only been doing it for a few secods, but was quite close to the arc. He said people at work had been teasing him, but also that it was rather painful!

Finally, double check the earth clamp and hose sleeve are making a really solid connections - one to the workpiece and the other to the copper tip.